I am writing this on the evening of Sunday, Nov. 20th, as we sail away from Civitavecchia (Rome’s Port), Italy. Palma was only yesterday, and tomorrow is Sorrento, so I don’t know when I’ll be able to get you this and the following ports.
Anyway, let’s just take them one at a time, beginning with Palma, which again surprised us, as you will see. Palma is the largest city and administrative center of the Spanish province of the Balearic Islands. The Balearic’s consist of five islands: Mallorca, Minorca, Ibiza, Formentera, and Cabrera (in order of size). Susy and I visited Ibiza with Pepe and Marisa years ago and had a wonderful time, but this was our first time on Mallorca. If we look at the history of the Balearic Islands, we see first the influence of the Moors who occupied them during their reign over the Iberian Peninsular from the 8th century until about the 13th century. They were retaken by King Jaume II in the 13th century, and for a brief era formed an independent kingdom, the Mallorcan Kings known throughout southern Europe. Today the Balearic Islands are one of Europe’s favorite playgrounds. It’s sand and sun during the day and partying all night.
Let’s go tour the island. First from the ship take a look at the impressive harbor:
I told them not to bring our little boat near the cruise ship, but they didn’t listen:
Do you at least see the fort that guards the port up above (don’t pay any attention to our little boat)?
And of coarse the port sign:
After taking the shuttle bus to the port entrance to the “old town” we were struck by this magnificent view of what looked like an old fort or castle in front of a beautiful cathedral:
What we had encountered was the former residence of the Arab kings called the “Palacio de la Almudaina” which later became the royal house of Mallorca when the Balearics gained independence. Behind it is Palma’s gothic “Seo Cathedral”, which was begun in the 13th century and took 300 years to build. Susy and I couldn’t believe what we were about to see as we drew closer and climbed up to the two buildings. Take a look of a couple of the gardens and a shot off the front ramparts that protected the whole site:
Yes, those are swans.
after walking through these approach gardens you came out below and in front of the two buildings with this view over a pool/moat from behind the ramparts:
Turning around this is the view to the entrance to the two buildings:
I WANT TO STOP RIGHT HERE AND PROCLAIM A POLICY DECISION. I TOOK ABOUT 200 PHOTOS IN PALMA. IN THIS CATHEDRAL ALONE I MUST HAVE TAKEN OVER 50 PHOTOS PLUS SUSY TOOK A VIDEO BECAUSE IT IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CHURCHES WE HAVE SEEN IN THE WORLD. AS I AM WRITING THIS BLOG, WE HAVE JUST RETURNED FROM A TRIP ALONG THE FAMOUS AMALFI DRIVE OUT OF SORRENTO, WHERE I TOOK ALMOST 350 PHOTOS. I JUST CAN’T SHOW YOU, IN ALL FAIRNESS, THESE PLACES IN THIS BLOG, SO WHAT I’M GOING TO DO WHEN I RETURN HOME IS GIVE YOU ALL THE PHOTOS OF THESE SPECIAL PLACES ON PICASA, O.K.? SO PLEASE BEAR WITH ME AND I’LL DO THE BEST I CAN WITH JUST A FEW PHOTOS HERE.
Back to the Cathedral, because we didn’t even go in the Palace to the left. Look at the front door (that’s Susy in front just to show you the size:
Look at the beauty (forgive me if I use that word a lot, but I just don’t have any other way of expressing how I feel about these sites) of this façade:
Inside we were left breathless with the vastness:
Above is the rear of the church, look at the main altar:
The reason I can’t begin to show you all the beauty of this cathedral in a few photos is in everyone of the side naves was located an alter that would put any church to shame. Here is one of at least 10 or 15 in all;
One more to show you that Gaudi actually worked on the inside of the cathedral from 1904 to 1914:
We have to leave now, but before we do just look at the riches that exist in this place:
How’d you like to use this for a candle holder in your mansion?
We left this cathedral in ah and wonder at the power, beauty, and wealth of the church over the centuries.
I’m going to just show you a few photos of the old city and the new. We walked for several hours through the streets:
Notice the cleanliness of the streets. Then into the major commercial district and the wonderful sidewalk cafes everywhere:
This island goes on Susy and I’s list of “would love to return and spent more time”. As I said, in such a short blog I have not given it justice, so look to Picasa when I return for a more complete coverage of Palma.
On to “Civitavecchia (Port for Rome),
Love You All,
Gary (alias Gagu)